Moving to Costa Mesa

Welcome to the breezy, vibrant world of Costa Mesa, CA! Positioned perfectly between bustling city life and the serene beach coast, Costa Mesa is more than just a destination; it's a lifestyle. Our comprehensive Costa Mesa relocation guide is set to whisk you on an exciting journey through the city's charming neighborhoods, expansive shopping plazas, innovative eateries, and cultural hotspots. Whether you're an adventurous soul, a foodie enthusiast, or a sun-seeking beach lover, prepare to be captivated as we uncover the highlights of making Costa Mesa, the "City of the Arts," your new home.

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What to Know Before Moving to Costa Mesa

1. Southern California Weather at Its Best

Costa Mesa in California is blessed with a year-round Mediterranean climate, which is basically summer all the time, with a hint of fall. With temperatures rarely exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit, even in July, and barely dropping below 50 degrees in January, who wouldn't fall in love with Costa Mesa? So pack your swimwear, sunglasses, and flip flops. Costa Mesa's sunshine is waiting for you!

2. There's a Culinary Paradise on Almost Every Corner

If you're a foodie, welcome to paradise! Costa Mesa boasts an impressive culinary scene. From lavish brunch spots like the Plums Cafe to hip and trendy food joints like SOCIAL, your taste buds are in for a rollercoaster of flavors. Don't forget to try their gourmet food trucks; they serve scrumptious delights on wheels. Plus, every third week of July, the annual Orange County Fair guarantees gastronomical adventure like none other. Bring in those stretchy pants, you're gonna need them!

3. Home to the Heartbeat of the Arts

Costa Mesa has a vibrant arts and culture scene that often goes unnoticed. As home to Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory and the fantastic Segerstrom Center for the Arts, this incredible city offers a brilliant lineup of theatrical performances, concerts, ballets, and Broadway shows. Buckle up because you're in for some high culture vibes!

4. Education that Excels

Costa Mesa is not just about fun and games; it's big on education too. With top-notch schools like the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and Orange Coast College, education thrives in this sunny city. You can be assured your child's learning journey will be nothing short of excellent in Costa Mesa.

5. Costa Mesa - Surf City's Chic Sister

Oddly enough, not many know this. Located just a short drive from Huntington Beach, a.k.a Surf City USA, Costa Mesa is the yin to its yang. While Huntington Beach boasts great waves and a laid-back beach vibe, Costa Mesa brings in the urban chic. Think of them as sisters - one's a totally cool surfer girl, whereas the other is a classy, sophisticated woman. But the best part? You get to enjoy them both!

6. Christmas is a Real Spectacle

And finally, a little secret. In Costa Mesa, Christmas isn't just a holiday; it's a mind-blowing spectacle. Each holiday season, the city transforms into a winter wonderland complete with concerts, ice skating, and tree lighting. The magic culminates in the Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade, where decorated yachts and boats process around the harbor, casting a dazzling display of lights. You'll have to see it to believe it!

In all, Costa Mesa is a balanced blend of sunny California weather, vibrant cuisine, flourishing arts scene, high-standard education, and festive cheer. Plus, with Surf City just a stone's throw away, you practically get two cities for the price of one. Get ready to fall head-over-heels for Costa Mesa, CA!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Costa Mesa

Pros of Living in Costa Mesa

Access to Stunning Beaches

Costa Mesa is just a few miles away from breathtaking beaches, which are perfect for sunbathing, surfing, or taking a leisurely stroll. This means that residents can enjoy a beach lifestyle without having to live directly on the coast. With warm weather all year round, beach days are always on the cards.

Vibrant Arts Scene

Costa Mesa boasts a thriving cultural and arts scene, home to renowned establishments like the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory. This means there are constantly high-quality performances and exhibitions to enjoy. Additionally, the city's numerous art galleries and festivals offer something for all art enthusiasts.

Excellent Dining and Shopping Options

Known as the 'City of the Arts', Costa Mesa also shine in its culinary and shopping offerings. With the famous South Coast Plaza, considered the largest shopping center on the West Coast of the United States, residents can shop at trendy boutiques or dine at top-notch restaurants. It's a true paradise for foodies and shoppers alike.

Quality Education

Costa Mesa is served by several well-regarded school districts, along with Orange Coast College, offering excellent education opportunities for families at every stage. Also, the close proximity to higher education institutions like the University of California, Irvine, provides extensive options for those seeking post-secondary education.

Outdoor Activities

Costa Mesa's mild climate and parks provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities year-round. With the city-owned Costa Mesa Golf Course, the Fairview Park which includes trails for hiking and biking, and the nearby Santa Ana River, outdoor enthusiasts will have plenty of options to choose from.

Cons of Living in Costa Mesa

High Cost of Living

Like many areas in Southern California, Costa Mesa has a high cost of living. It is primarily reflected in housing costs, which tend to be higher than the national average. While this might be manageable for some, it could pose a challenge for others, especially those just starting out or on a tight budget.

Traffic and Commute Times

Due to its desirable location and growing population, Costa Mesa can sometimes experience congestion, especially during peak commute times. While there is public transportation, many residents rely on cars for travel, which can make for long commute times around the city and into surrounding metropolitan areas.


In some parts of Costa Mesa, especially in the downtown and near popular supermarkets or restaurants, parking can be a hassle. It can often be hard to find a spot, and spots that are available may require payment or have time limits, which can be an inconvenience for residents and visitors alike.


Costa Mesa's desirable climate and location attract plenty of tourists annually, which could contribute to a sense of overcrowding, especially during peak tourist season. While tourism can benefit the local economy, it often leads to crowded beaches, restaurants, and attractions.

Crime Rates

While Costa Mesa is generally considered a safe city, its crime rate is slightly higher than the national average, particularly involving property crimes. While crime rates vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, it's still important to ensure the one you're interested in feels safe to you.

Modern day picture of Costa Mesa, CA highlighting pros and cons of living in Costa Mesa, CA

Is Costa Mesa a Good Place to Live?

Costa Mesa, CA is a great place to live because it offers a rich blend of culture, nature and entertainment. From beautiful parks, gourmet restaurants, to a vibrant arts scene including the celebrated Segerstrom Center for the Arts, there's something for everybody. Moreover, its pleasant weather, excellent schools, friendly neighborhoods, and close proximity to stunning California beaches make it an ideal spot for both families and singles alike.

What Is Costa Mesa Famous For?


Fairgrounds and Festivals

Costa Mesa is home to the Orange County Fairgrounds, hosting millions of visitors each year. Between the annual Orange County Fair, the Imaginology festival and a slew of concerts and events, there's never a dull moment at these fairgrounds. It's a mecca for fun, food, and frolic!

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Situated in the heart of the city is the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, a premier performance venue offering a rich tapestry of shows, ranging from Broadway musicals to contemporary dances. It's not just a performance venue but an artistic haven where one can see the merging of creativity and inspiration.

Surf Culture

Surf's up in Costa Mesa! While the city itself is not located on the coast, it's very close to renowned surfing spots like Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, bringing a strong influence of surf culture into the city. Surfing brands like Hurley, Volcom, and RVCA even have their headquarters here.

Culinary Scene

For the foodies out there, Costa Mesa offers a smorgasbord of global flavors. South Coast Plaza and The Camp are two hotspots where one can savor everything from sushi to vegan doughnuts. It's a miniature food world tour in one city!

' Capital building of Costa Mesa, CA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

The property tax rate in Costa Mesa, CA is around 0.76% in 2023. This rate is relatively low compared to the national average property tax rate of around 1.07%.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in Costa Mesa, CA is about 7.75% as of 2023. This is significantly higher than the national average sales tax rate of around 5.56%, indicating that consumers in Costa Mesa pay more sales tax on their purchases.

Income Tax

The income tax rate in Costa Mesa, CA depends on your income level, with the highest rate at 37% as of 2023. Compared to the national average highest tax rate of 37%, the income tax rate in Costa Mesa remains competitive with other parts of the US.

Housing Market

Costa Mesa's housing market is notably competitive, with home values significantly above the national average. The median home value is roughly $825,000, while the U.S. average is approximately $277,000. The rental market is also more expensive, with the median monthly rent standing around $2,500 compared to the U.S median of nearly $1,500. Property appreciation rates in Costa Mesa have been consistently high, presenting opportunities for investment. Potential buyers and renters should account for higher costs and competition when considering Costa Mesa as a living or investment destination.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Costa Mesa, CA is fairly high compared to other cities in the country. Housing, in particular, is a significant factor, as real estate prices are well above the national average. Other costs, such as groceries, health, and transportation, are also higher to varying degrees. This elevated cost of living is commensurate with other high-cost areas in California. Despite the expense, the city offers numerous amenities, quality education, and a thriving job market, contributing to an overall high standard of living. Therefore, while it might require a larger budget, living in Costa Mesa can be rewarding for many.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Costa Mesa exhibits a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. It enjoys over 275 days of sunshine each year with an average high around 70 degF and seldom dips below 40 degF night. In rare cases, Costa Mesa experiences light measurable snow, though frost can occur. The rainy season usually spans from November to March, but rainfall levels remain relatively low, averaging about 12 inches annually. While Costa Mesa is free from severe weather conditions like tornadoes and snowstorms, it can fall within the range of fires, floods, and earthquakes, common to Southern California. Earthquakes - due to the nearby fault lines - pose the most significant natural disaster threat. Despite these occasional hazards, the beautiful blend of sunny, temperate weather paints a vibrant climate story in Costa Mesa.

Typical weather in Costa Mesa, CA

Economy & Job Market

Retail Trade

Health Care and Social Assistance

Accommodation and Food Services

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


Oh, lovely Costa Mesa! A quintessential California city, originally known for agriculture and now blossoming as a major retail and commerce hub. Historically, Costa Mesa's foundation was laid in farming (think fresh, juicy strawberries and proud fields of lima beans!) but today, it's a shopping paradise where you can too easily swipe your credit card away in the name of retail therapy. 'Mind you, it's not just shopping that keeps the cash registers ringing here. We also have health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, professional services, and manufacturing adding to our economic vividness. The city's vibrant economy also includes an exciting mix of small businesses and large corporations, making it a diverse economic landscape. You'll find everything from Costco to innovative tech firms adding to the vibrancy around here.

Planning a rendezvous with Costa Mesa? you're in luck because our job market is looking pretty fab! With an unemployment rate lower than the national average, Costa Mesa serves up a smorgasbord of job opportunities. If you're a number cruncher or a whiz at legal intricacies, you'll fit right into the city's thriving professional, scientific, and technical services sector. More of a people person? The health care and social assistance sector could use your caring touch. And of course, if you can handle the sizzle of the food services industry, there're enough restaurants here to keep you busy! So come along, and let's design a life you love in Costa Mesa!

Traffic and Transportation

Hey there, adventurer! Buckle up and let's navigate through the traffic and transportation scene in Costa Mesa, California! Typical commute times hover around 25 minutes, a smidge above the national average but hey, who's counting when you're basking in the SoCal sunshine on the way to work? If you're feeling eco-conscious or just want to catch a break from the driving, fear not! Public transportation options like the OCTA bus service have got you covered. They're efficient, reliable, and a great alternative to the solo drive. Perhaps you're jetting off on a getaway instead? Costa Mesa is your perfect launch pad with John Wayne Airport just a few minutes away. So whether you're cruising the roads or soaring in the skies, Costa Mesa keeps you moving in style, Californian style!

What is the traffic like in Costa Mesa, CA?

Best Neighborhoods in Costa Mesa

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1. Eastside Costa Mesa

Picture broad, leafy boulevards lined with charming homes, unique boutiques, and hip new restaurants. Welcome to Eastside Costa Mesa, one of the city's most sought-after neighborhoods. It's a vibrant, walkable community that feels more like a quaint small town but comes with all the urban amenities you could ever dream of. This neighborhood captures the hearts of many with its eclectic mix of Craftsman and Mediterranean-style homes and charming bungalows. Plus, it's just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Newport Beach - talk about location, location, location!

2. Mesa Verde

Often referred to as Costa Mesa's "hidden gem", Mesa Verde offers a serene, suburban feel with plenty of parks, open green spaces, and tree-lined streets. It's the perfect place for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike. For golf lovers, the neighborhood is home to the Mesa Verde Country Club, one of Southern California's most prestigious private country clubs. With its tight-knit community feel, excellent schools, and easy access to freeways, Mesa Verde is the place to be for those seeking a calm, relaxed lifestyle within a bustling city.

3. Westside Costa Mesa

If you want the authentic SoCal beach-town experience, look no further than Westside Costa Mesa! This laid-back neighborhood is full of character and charm, boasting a diverse mix of quirky shops, local eateries, and artistic venues. One of the best things about Westside is its close proximity to Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, making it easy for residents to go surfing or simply enjoy the world-famous Orange County beaches. The housing in Westside is also diverse, with everything from mid-century homes to newer condo developments, embodying a true Californian beach vibe in every corner.

4. South Coast Metro

At the doorstep of South Coast Metro lies South Coast Plaza, one of the largest shopping centers in the United States with a collection of luxury, designer, and high-end retail stores. But this neighborhood is so much more than just a shopper's paradise. Its cultural scene is rich and diverse, with the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the South Coast Repertory making it the heart of Orange County's performing arts. Add in its multitude of upscale restaurants and modern apartment complexes, and you've got yourself the epitome of upscale and cosmopolitan living in Costa Mesa.

5. Central Costa Mesa

Tucked away in the heart of the city, Central Costa Mesa is a blend of suburban tranquility and urban convenience. It's home to the sprawling Costa Mesa Country Club, the vibrant Costa Mesa Senior Center, and the bustling Vanguard University. One of the highlights of living in Central Costa Mesa is its easy access to the fairgrounds, where the annual Orange County Fair takes place. Wide, tree-lined streets, a selection of beautiful homes, and easy access to many amenities make Central Costa Mesa a welcoming and comfortable place to call home.

In conclusion, each neighborhood in Costa Mesa has its own distinct flavor and a wealth of amenities to offer. Whether you're drawn to Eastside's small-town feel, Mesa Verde's tranquil suburbs, Westside's beach-town charm, South Coast Metro's upscale living, or Central Costa Mesa's inviting energy, you're in for a treat. As you prepare to relocate to this dynamic city, we hope this overview will make your decision a bit easier. Happy moving!

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Things to Do

Welcome to Costa Mesa, a charming city in Orange County, California! If you're someone who loves to explore local art scenes, prefer outdoorsy adventures, engage in retail therapy, or savor the delicious food scene, then you're in the right place. Costa Mesa offers a diverse range of entertainment, leisure, and culinary opportunities that cater to all tastes. Here are seven top things to do in Costa Mesa, even locals might not know about all of them!

1. Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Known as the heart of the city's cultural scene, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts hosts Broadway musicals, world-class ballets, and award-winning concerts. This cornerstone of artistic excellence in Costa Mesa is a must-visit for both novice art appreciators and experienced culture vultures.

2. South Coast Plaza

This shopping center is more than just your run-of-the-mill mall, it's retail heaven! South Coast Plaza houses the best high-end luxury brands, making it a fashionista's dream. You'll find everything from Gucci to Chanel, Prada to Versace. The architecture itself is worthy of admiration too!

3. Attend an Event in OC Fair & Event Center

Every summer, the Orange County Fair takes over this Event Center and draws locals and tourists in for a fantastic mix of rides, concerts, and food. Off-season, the venue hosts various events, like home shows, pet expos, and antique fairs. Yes, it's off the beaten path but that's what makes it more fun and adventurous!

4. Costa Mesa Art Walk

Now here's something you won't find in guide books - the Costa Mesa Art Walk! This self-guided tour showcases over 20 sculptures across the city, all created by world-renowned artists. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and a curiosity for contemporary art.

5. Explore Tewinkle Park

This peaceful park is the perfect escape from the city's hustle without having to leave town. Its serene lake, beautiful floral arrangements, and sports facilities are enough to keep you hooked for an entire day. Plus, there's a cool secret waterfall not many locals know about. Can you find it?

6. Try Local Cuisine at The LAB Antimall

Forget conventional shopping malls; The LAB Antimall is where it's at! It's full of unique boutiques, art installations, and food joints that will take your taste-buds on a regional flavor trip. Whether you want to shop or eat, this place screams authentic Costa Mesa.

7. Farmers' Markets

Last on the list, but certainly not least, the local farmers' markets offer a great way to explore Costa Mesa's authentic local produce. You can fill up on fresh fruits and veggies, homemade artisanal goodies, or even just wander about for the full sensory experience. It's not just about the food, it's about the vibe, the people, and the authenticity.

There you have it, seven top (and sometimes hidden) things to do in Costa Mesa, CA. It's a city brimming with activities, whether you prefer the arts, shopping, food, or outdoor adventures. Settle in and enjoy! Costa Mesa awaits to surprise you at each corner; all you need to do is embrace the city with open arms.

Things to do in Costa Mesa, CA?

Find Movers for Your Costa Mesa Relocation


From the vibrant downtown culture to the tranquil coastal areas, we trust our guide has illuminated the exceptional offerings of Costa Mesa. Now that you are familiarized with the locale, it's time for the essential next step - planning your move. Let Great Guys Moving streamline this process for you. Our network of reputable, licensed and insured moving companies offer the peace of mind you need. With quality service, swift quote returns, and affordable pricing, your journey to Costa Mesa is made stress-free and secure. Why wait? Request your free, no-obligation moving quote from Great Guys Moving today.


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